Peebles High sports boost

PLANS for a £4.8million sports complex at the region’s largest secondary school have been given the go-ahead.

As a result, work to create a sports hall, a full-size synthetic pitch and a sprint track, illuminated by eight floodlights, at Peebles High will begin early next year with completion set for 2014.

Despite seven objections, highlighting potential light pollution and noise, Scottish Borders Council’s new planning committee last week unanimously approved the bid for full consent.

Sports facilities at the 1,300-pupil school in Springwood Road have long been regarded as inadequate and the required investment has failed to make the cut in SBC’s capital spending programme over the past decade.

But with the cash allocated in the current programme, the proposals have received widespread public support and, of the 28 submitted comments received by the planners, 21 were supportive of the planning application from SBC’s education department.

The main element of the complex is a full-height sports hall to the north-west of the main school building. It will also comprise a smaller hall, a fitness suite, dressing rooms and offices.

Outside, a there will be a synthetic pitch, with the track running alongside, and two additional hockey pitches. The floodlights will be 16 metres high.

The proposal will lead to a reduction in the availability of rugby pitches and Peebles RFC has claimed the synthetic pitch will not be large enough to cater for the oval ball game. That will be for SBC, in its role as developer, to address.

The committee agreed, however, that the entrance to the sports hall should be re-positioned to mitigate the noise and light pollution which those living in the nearest residential properties in Springwood Road had highlighted in letters of objection.

“This has been a long-running matter so we wish the community of Peebles a speedy resolution,” said committee chairman Councillor Ron Smith.